Top 10 Rutger Hauer Genre Movie Roles!

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

Y’all hear that? Yeah, it’s the sound of the entire AITH family tippin’ a 40 out to the fallen homey. RIP MR. Hauer, you’re one of the all time bests!

Indeed, yesterday brought the sad, sad news that the great Rutger Hauer passed away. Anyone who’s frequented these parts over the years knows he was a genre favorite around here, going all the way back to his days working with Verhoeven in their native Netherlands. But instead of waxing eulogistic, let’s turn this here weekend Top 10 into a celebration of Hauer’s prolific body of work. Now, to be clear, Hauer tallied over 170 acting credits in his time, so this will by no means be exhaustive, but rather preferential. Point is, Hauer has delivered so much pleasure to us through the years, that we can’t help by highlight a double-fistful of our favorites. So it’s with a heavy heart and appreciative mind that we present our Top 10 Rutger Hauer Genre Performances. Tip a tall one and enjoy below!


We could have just as easily feted the 1991 Hauer hour WEDLOCK, in which he plays a crazed con who escapes prison in order to locate his hidden loot attached to a female inmate, but there’s something extra badass about his role of Harley Stone in the maddeningly underrated London-set creature-feature SPLIT SECOND. Hauer plays a gruff rogue detective out to solve a rash of grisly murders in a dystopic and deluged London. One problem. The serial killer isn’t human, but rather a repulsive 10-foot alien monster that killed Stone’s partner in the past. Aside from Hauer showcasing his macho bravado, the 1992 subplot about devastating climate change was far ahead of its time. GET HERE


Who the hell knew Hauer was so funny? Seriously, Rutger earned a living by playing intense, brooding, villainous madmen, yet rarely got a chance to flash his comedic chops onscreen. So to see him having a ball opposite Pee-wee Herman in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, rocking that perfectly coifed feather-mullet and chillingly perverse blonde pedo-stache, the glee was hardly containable. I f*cking love Lothos. I love the debonair demeanor, the silly ass wardrobe, the musical aplomb, but most of all, the way in which Hauer plays such a campily-written character with such a dedicated straight face. Pure comedic gold unlike we’ve ever seen Hauer. GET HERE


After a half-decade in the cinematic doldrums following SIN CITY and BATMAN BEGINS, new life seemed to be injected into Hauer’s career with the leading role in HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, a wildly over-the-top homage to cheap independent grind-house movies of the 1970s. Hauer infuses the title pauper with a disheveled brio as he pumps rounds of buckshot from his 12-gague shotty towards any lippy mother*cker that dare utter an ill word his way. More heroic yet, Hobo witnesses all the crime and corruption on the filthy city streets and mounts his own campaign of vigilante rectification, slaughtering dirty cops, pervy Santas, strapped looters, and abusive Johns. A tour-de-force return to form for Rutger! GET HERE


After spending the early part of his career forging Dutch classics with Paul Verhoeven, when it came time to make his American debut, Hauer did not waste the opportunity. His role as the terrorist Wulfgar Reinhardt in NIGHTHAWKS, who meets quite his match in Sly Stallone, is played with such an icy evilness and dangerous demeanor that it’s damn near impossible to forget him the first time you see the film. Released in 1981, Hauer still had the boyish charm to hide the nefarious intent of an international terrorist. He’s slick, suave, seductive, yet sick, sinister and surreptitious, playing both sides of the coin to an absolute T. GET HERE


What a swanky pimp maniac Hauer was in SURVIVING THE GAME, a who’s who showdown of formidable characters that could not eclipse the scene-stealing verve of Rutger as Thomas Burns. He plays the business tycoon who spearheads a hunting expedition among fellow elites, all of which have enough a screw loose to happily pay to hunt and murder human game. I mean, when you punk Gary Busey like the way depicted above, you know you’re one badass mother*cker! I just love the way Hauer plays such an outwardly gregarious and energetic character that has an unparalleled evil streak. The dark round shades, bandana, earrings, bushy white goatee, and the coldblooded heart of a ruthless killer! GET HERE


If nothing else, we hope this here celebratory litany urges those who haven’t seen the slept-on Australian flick THE BLOOD OF HEROES (1989) to do so ASAP. The flick is written and directed by David Webb Peoples (BLADE RUNNER, 12 MONKEYS) and features one of Hauer’s most memorable starring turns of his illustrious career. Hauer plays Sallow, a badass soldier of misfortune doing all he can to survive in the MAD MAX-like post-apocalypse. He plays the leader of a rag tag band of survivors called Juggers dwelling in a land without technology, where a barbarous game resembling American football is played with a dog-skull rather than pigskin. Hell of a movie and one of Hauer’s most physically demanding performances! GET HERE

#4. NICK RANDALL (WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE) – Serious question: Did Bon Jovi write WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE as Hauer’s theme song to this movie? He damn well should have! Man, 1986 couldn’t be a better year for Hauer, who starred in not one but two of his top four movie roles of all time (in our eyes anyway). Instead of playing the terrorist as he’s done credibly in the past, here Hauer plays a take-no-shit bounty hunter paid a handsome fee to hunt, kill or arrest a terrorist responsible for bombing an L.A. movie theater. The former CIA operative is given a cool quarter-mill to capture Malak Al Rahim (Kiss’ Gene Simmons), giving the kind of cool performance Steve McQueen did on the 1950s series of the same name. Hauer kicks so much ass in the movie! GET HERE

#3. NICK PARKER (BLIND FURY) – A sightless swordsman brought to America to defend his honor? Who the hell knew Hauer was goddamn Zatoichi! Oh we jest, for anyone who grew up clocking late 80s action flicks knows, with great intimacy, how much fun it is to watch Rutger utterly waylay motherf*ckers as Nick Parker in BLIND FURY. Damn is this movie a blast! Directed by Phillip Noyce (DEAD CALM, SLIVER), Nick Parker is an embattled Vietnam vet who must rescue his fellow soldier’s son. His soldier pal Frank Devereaux (Terry O’Quinn) is a chemist blackmailed by a Vegas heavy into manufacturing designer drugs, and whose son has been targeted as collateral. Parker saves the boy and road-trips it to Vegas in order to serve up an ice cold dish of revenge! GET HERE

#2. ROY BATTY (BLADE RUNNER) – “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.” Ever the poet, Hauer reportedly came up with this iconic speech in the equally legendary movie BLADE RUNNER, in which he played the emotionally burdened replicant Roy Batty. It’s easily one of, if not the number one, movie role Hauer ever played, and a performance that has lived and lasted as durably as the Ridley Scott classic itself. Roy Batty is not only the perfectly matched foil for Deckard, but is also the emotive core of the entire movie; the humanized heart and soul Deckard thought he had all along. And one Batty was willing to die for! GET HERE


As iconic as Roy Batty is, he’s still a second-fiddle villain to Harrison Ford’s heroic Deckard. However, in Eric Red’s superb THE HITCHER, I’d argue Hauer is not only the villain, but so memorably frightening, so bone-clatteringly creepy, and so domineering over little Pony Boy’s protagonistic Jim, that it’s his movie, John Ryder’s, and no one else’s. He’s that magnetically malevolent. The thing about Hauer’s Hitcher is the way he can send an icy shiver down your spine with a devilish smile or a suspicious frown, never mind the acted upon evil intentions. He’s calm one minute, rabid the next, toying and taunting Jim with a murderous mastermind every step of the way. In addition to being one of the most violent characters, Hauer did most of his own stunts in the film, including the car chases. If that doesn’t equal his greatest performance, what does?!? GET HERE

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